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Mussel Production and Water Framework Directive Targets in the Limfjord, Denmark: an Integrated Assessment for Use in System-Based Management

Citation Information: Dinesen, G. E., K. Timmermann, E. Roth, S. Markager, L. Ravn-Jonsen, M. Hjorth, M. Holmer, and J. G. Støttrup. 2011. Mussel production and water framework directive targets in the Limfjord, Denmark: an integrated assessment for use in system-based management. Ecology and Society 16(4): 26.

Abstract: Growth of human activities often conflict with nature conservation requirements and integrated assessments are necessary to build reliable scenarios for management. In the Limfjord, Denmark’s largest estuary, nutrient loading reductions are necessary to fulfill EU regulations criteria, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Cuts in nutrient loadings do not necessarily result in corresponding reductions in eutrophication impacts or in improving primary and higher trophic-level production. Similarly, the socioeconomic consequences of a mussel fishery and aquaculture production are complex and hard to predict. This study focuses on the usefulness of a System Approach Framework (SAF) implementation for stakeholder understanding of complex systems and development of sustainable management. Ecological-social-economic (ESE) model simulations clearly demonstrated the potential problems of WFD implementation for mussel fishers and mussel farmers. Simulation of mussel fishery closures resulted in a tenfold increase in the hitherto fishable mussel biomass and a similar decrease in the biomass of shallow-water mussels and medium-sized ones in deep water. A total closure of the mussel fishery could result in an annual profit loss of ~€6.2 million. Scenario simulation of the introduction of one, two, three, and four mussel culture farms of ~19 ha showed that the introduction of line-mussels would decrease the biomass of wild mussels both in shallow and deep waters, affecting the catch and profit of fishers. The SAF, which included consultation with stakeholders at all stages, differs from the traditional public consultation process in that (1) communication was verbal and multilateral, (2) discussion among stakeholders was facilitated, and (3) stakeholder opinions and priorities formed the focus of the ESE assessment.

Effects of Fishing Tourism in a Coastal Municipality: a Case Study from Risør, Norway

Citation Information: Moksness, E., J. Gjøsæter, G. Lagaillarde, E. Mikkelsen, E. Moland Olsen, H. T. Sandersen, and J. Helge Vølstad. 2011. Effects of fishing tourism in a coastal municipality: a case study from Risør, Norway. Ecology and Society 16(3): 11.

Abstract: Recreational fishing has become an important part of the Norwegian tourist industry. The coastal municipality of Risør, southern Norway, is considering further development of its marine fishing tourism to increase local economic benefits, but they also want to limit negative effects on the local ecosystem and for the inhabitants. We developed an integrated model with ecosystem and socioeconomic components to evaluate these trade-offs. We chose the status of the local cod (Gadus morhua) stock as an indicator of the marine ecosystem condition. Cod is a highly valued species in tourist and recreational fisheries throughout Norway, and also supports an important commercial fishery. Five management scenarios are presented and compared to the status quo. Our research illustrates how an ecosystem model can assist local authorities in making rational coastal zone management decisions. Our study also revealed a lack of management instruments for local authorities to develop natural resource-based tourism in Norway, and thus the need for the municipality to cooperate and coordinate with other management units and levels.

Addressing Sustainability of Clam Farming in the Venice Lagoon

Citation Information: Melaku Canu, D., P. Campostrini, S. Dalla Riva, R. Pastres, L. Pizzo, L. Rossetto, and C. Solidoro. 2011. Addressing sustainability of clam farming in the Venice lagoon. Ecology and Society 16(3): 26.

Abstract: The clam fishing and aquaculture system in the Venice Lagoon still appears insufficiently resilient to buffer external and internal perturbations, such as productivity fluctuations, unregulated fishing, and market related dynamics, despite the efforts of regional and local authorities to achieve the sustainable development.

According to the System Approach Framework (SAF), based on previous studies and stakeholder interactions, we developed a model integrating ecological, social, and economic (ESE) aspects. We chose the aspects necessary to represent the essential dynamics of major ecological, social, and economic clam farming system components to project the consequences of implementing alternative management policies and to address the ecological and social carrying capacity. Results of the simulations suggest that a properly managed farming system can sustain an acceptable income and support the local community, while reducing negative environmental impacts, social conflicts, and consumer health risks and improving system resilience. The results highlight the importance of an interdisciplinary, participatory, and adaptive approach in planning the management of this important renewable resource.

Progress Toward Sustainable Mussel Aquaculture in Mar Piccolo, Italy

Citation Information: Caroppo, C., L. Giordano, N. Palmieri, G. Bellio, A. Paride Bisci, G. Portacci, P. Sclafani, and T. Sawyer Hopkins. 2012. Progress towards sustainable mussel aquaculture in Mar Piccolo, Italy. Ecology and Society 17(3): 10.

Abstract: Mar Piccolo of Taranto is an estuarine basin heavily exploited for commercial mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis L.) farming. The historical renown of the Taranto mussels has suffered over the last decade following policy decisions to expand the mussel farms and to relocate a portion of the urban sewage to an outfall outside of Mar Piccolo. The resulting decline in mussel quality and the quandary of how to restore stability to Taranto mussel production became the focal issue for our application of the systems approach framework (SAF). We simulated the ecological, economic, and social interactions that affect mussel production. Stakeholders and mussel farmers contributed by participating in meetings during the entire exercise. Our simulation analysis provided them with a means for understanding the effects of policy scenarios on the system. We present three aspects from our initial results that demonstrate the value of the SAF, as: (1) an operational model to monitor and better research the status of the ecosystem, (2) a management tool to evaluate sustainable mussel farming strategies, and (3) an opportunity for improved communication with and engagement of stakeholders, policy, and the public. The application has also raised important questions about how the food chain is controlled, what could be changed to stabilize the ecosystem to a higher level of productivity, and what role the public and policy could play in promoting sustainable development.

Nitrogen Source Apportionment for the Catchment, Estuary, and Adjacent Coastal Waters of the River Scheldt

Citation Information: Vermaat, J. E., S. Broekx, B. Van Eck, G. Engelen, F. Hellmann, J. De Kok, H. Van der Kwast, J. Maes, W. Salomons, and W. Van Deursen. 2012. Nitrogen source apportionment for the catchment, estuary, and adjacent coastal waters of the River Scheldt. Ecology and Society 17(2): 30.

Abstract: Using the systems approach framework (SAF), a coupled model suite was developed for simulating land-use decision making in response to nutrient abatement costs and water and nutrient fluxes in the hydrological network of the Scheldt River, and nutrient fluxes in the estuary and adjacent coastal sea. The purpose was to assess the efficiency of different long-term water quality improvement measures in current and future climate and societal settings, targeting nitrogen (N) load reduction. The spatial-dynamic model suite consists of two dynamically linked modules: PCRaster is used for the drainage network and is combined with ExtendSim modules for farming decision making and estuarine N dispersal. Model predictions of annual mean flow and total N concentrations compared well with data available for river and estuary (r² ≥ 0.83). Source apportionment was carried out to societal sectors and administrative regions; both households and agriculture are the major sources of N, with the regions of Flanders and Wallonia contributing most. Load reductions by different measures implemented in the model were comparable (~75% remaining after 30 yr), but costs differed greatly. Increasing domestic sewage connectivity was more effective, at comparatively low cost (47% remaining). The two climate scenarios did not lead to major differences in load compared with the business-as-usual scenario (~88% remaining). Thus, this spatially explicit model of water flow and N fluxes in the Scheldt catchment can be used to compare different long-term policy options for N load reduction to river, estuary, and receiving sea in terms of their effectiveness, cost, and optimal location of implementation.

Zebra Mussel Farming in the Szczecin (Oder) Lagoon: Water-Quality Objectives and Cost-Effectiveness

Citation Information: Schernewski, G., N. Stybel, and T. Neumann. 2012. Zebra mussel farming in the Szczecin (Oder) Lagoon: water-quality objectives and cost-effectiveness. Ecology and Society 17(2): 4.

Abstract: The Oder (Szczecin) Lagoon in the southern Baltic Sea is a heavily eutrophicated and degraded coastal ecosystem. We applied a systems approach framework to critically evaluate whether existing water-management measures achieve water-quality objectives for the river and lagoon systems. Our simulations reveal that the existing water-quality objectives for the river and the coastal waters are not sufficiently complementary. We suggest new water-quality threshold concentrations, which are in agreement with the European Water Framework Directive, and we calculate acceptable maximum nutrient loads for the Oder River. These calculations suggest that external nutrient-load reductions in the river basin alone seem insufficient to achieve good water quality in the lagoon. A comprehensive eutrophication management approach should also include internal nutrient-retention and nutrient-removal measures in the lagoon. We focus on mussel farming, i.e., that of zebra mussels, Dreissena polymorpha, because they are efficient in removing nutrients and improving water transparency in the Oder Lagoon. For this purpose, the ecosystem model ERGOM is extended by a mussel module and an economic model. The economic model describes costs and benefits of mussel cultivation depending on the the farm size. We included additional potential sources of income such as water-quality tax or emission certificates. The simulations show that mussel farming in the lagoon is a suitable supportive measure and, at a load-reduction target of 50% or more, it is a cost-efficient measure for removing nutrients and for implementing the Baltic Sea Action Plan. In the Oder Lagoon, mussel farming could potentially remove nearly 1000 t of N (70 t of P)/year, or about 2% of the present N and P loads, and it would have the additional benefit of improving water transparency.

Aspects of Mussel-Farming Activity in Chalastra, Thermaikos Gulf, Greece: An Effort to Untie a Management Gordian Knot

Citation Information: Konstantinou, Z. I., Y. N. Krestenitis, D. Latinopoulos, K. Pagou, S. Galinou-Mitsoudi and Y. Savvidis 2012. Aspects of mussel-farming activity in Chalastra, Thermaikos Gulf, Greece: an effort to untie a management Gordian Knot Ecology and Society 17(1): 1.

Abstract: Small-scale mussel farming in the coastal area of Chalastra (Thermaikos Gulf, Greece) has faced major problems during the last decade due to environmental limitations and to institutional constraints imposed by the absence of local planning and development policies. The aim of our work was to demonstrate crucial aspects of implementing the Systems Approach Framework (SAF) in the area, and more specifically to explain: (a) the key parts of a bioeconomic model that constitutes the basis of a draft management tool, (b) the results of several investigative scenarios examined through the management tool, and (c) the stakeholders’ feedback through the participative procedures. The goal was to evaluate the effects of the SAF implementation on the communication between scientists, policy makers, and local stakeholders. The scenarios refer to alternative farming techniques and different environmental conditions, and examine the effects of institutional deficiencies in qualitative and quantitative ways, regarding the sustainability of the activity. The selection of the scenarios was directed from the need to provide a dialogue platform between the conflicting stakeholders. The results clearly demonstrate the effects of mussel-farming techniques on mussel production, as well as the impacts of environmental conditions, human decisions, and institutional choices on the regional (and individual) economic welfare. In the bottom line, the value of the SAF is demonstrated through the apprehension of the policy issue, its impacts, and the alternative management perspectives, as well as through the establishment of a multidimensional collaboration group for the area, which is essential for the further development of the management tool and the implementation of an integrated management policy.

A Systems Approach Framework for Coastal Zones

Citation Information: Hopkins , T. S., D. Bailly, and J. G. Støttrup. 2011. A systems approach framework for coastal zones. Ecology and Society 16(4): 25.

Abstract: This Special Feature Volume examines the potential value of the Systems Approach Framework (SAF) as a methodological framework for the transition to sustainable development in coastal zones. This article provides insight on the Systems Approach, the theory behind it, and how its practical application to coastal zone systems (CZSs) was developed. The SAF is about information for management through a focus on how to generate a higher, dynamic level of information about complex CZSs and how to render this information more useful to end users through a participatory suite of communication methods. The SAF is an open research methodology that investigates the function of systems in order to simulate specific issues or questions concerning their function. The research articles that are included in this Volume demonstrate examples of coupled multidisciplinary methods integrated into SAF simulations appropriate to a selected policy issue and to the social-environmental conditions of each Study Site Application. Their findings are not the result of funded research projects; instead, they are by-products of pilot applications conducted to develop and improve the SAF methodology. The final article of this Volume synthesizes these results in the context of the SAF as a higher level instrument for integrated coastal zone management.

Eco-Label Conveys Reliable Information on Fish Stock Health to Seafood Consumers

Citation Information: Gutiérrez NL, Valencia SR, Branch TA, Agnew DJ, Baum JK, et al. (2012) Eco-Label Conveys Reliable Information on Fish Stock Health to Seafood Consumers. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43765. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043765

Abstract: Concerns over fishing impacts on marine populations and ecosystems have intensified the need to improve ocean management. One increasingly popular market-based instrument for ecological stewardship is the use of certification and eco-labeling programs to highlight sustainable fisheries with low environmental impacts. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the most prominent of these programs. Despite widespread discussions about the rigor of the MSC standards, no comprehensive analysis of the performance of MSC-certified fish stocks has yet been conducted. We compared status and abundance trends of 45 certified stocks with those of 179 uncertified stocks, finding that 74% of certified fisheries were above biomass levels that would produce maximum sustainable yield, compared with only 44% of uncertified fisheries. On average, the biomass of certified stocks increased by 46% over the past 10 years, whereas uncertified fisheries increased by just 9%. As part of the MSC process, fisheries initially go through a confidential pre-assessment process. When certified fisheries are compared with those that decline to pursue full certification after pre-assessment, certified stocks had much lower mean exploitation rates (67% of the rate producing maximum sustainable yield vs. 92% for those declining to pursue certification), allowing for more sustainable harvesting and in many cases biomass rebuilding. From a consumer’s point of view this means that MSC-certified seafood is 3–5 times less likely to be subject to harmful fishing than uncertified seafood. Thus, MSC-certification accurately identifies healthy fish stocks and conveys reliable information on stock status to seafood consumers.

Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Distribution of Deep-Water Gorgonian Corals in Relation to Seabed Topography on the Norwegian Margin

Citation Information: Tong R, Purser A, Unnithan V, Guinan J (2012) Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Distribution of Deep-Water Gorgonian Corals in Relation to Seabed Topography on the Norwegian Margin. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43534. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043534

Abstract: Investigating the relationship between deep-water coral distribution and seabed topography is important for understanding the terrain habitat selection of these species and for the development of predictive habitat models. In this study, the distribution of the deep-water gorgonians, Paragorgia arborea and Primnoa resedaeformis, in relation to terrain variables at multiple scales of 30 m, 90 m and 170 m were investigated at Røst Reef, Traena Reef and Sotbakken Reef on the Norwegian margin, with Ecological Niche Factor Analysis applied. To date, there have been few published studies investigating this aspect of gorgonian distribution. A similar correlation between the distribution of P. arborea and P. resedaeformis and each particular terrain variable was found at each study site, but the strength of the correlation between each variable and distribution differed by reef. The terrain variables of bathymetric position index (BPI) and curvature at analysis scales of 90 m or 170 m were most strongly linked to the distribution of both species at the three geographically distinct study sites. Both gorgonian species tended to inhabit local topographic highs across all three sites, particularly at Sotbakken Reef and Traena Reef, with both species observed almost exclusively on such topographic highs. The tendency for observed P. arborea to inhabit ridge crests at Røst Reef was much greater than was indicated for P. resedaeformis. This investigation identifies the terrain variables which most closely correlate with distribution of these two gorgonian species, and analyzes their terrain habitat selection; further development of predictive habitat models may be considered essential for effective management of these species.

Using Age-Based Life History Data to Investigate the Life Cycle and Vulnerability of Octopus cyanea

Citation Information: Herwig JN, Depczynski M, Roberts JD, Semmens JM, Gagliano M, et al. (2012) Using Age-Based Life History Data to Investigate the Life Cycle and Vulnerability of Octopus cyanea. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43679. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043679

Abstract: Octopus cyanea is taken as an unregulated, recreationally fished species from the intertidal reefs of Ningaloo, Western Australia. Yet despite its exploitation and importance in many artisanal fisheries throughout the world, little is known about its life history, ecology and vulnerability. We used stylet increment analysis to age a wild O. cyanea population for the first time and gonad histology to examine their reproductive characteristics. O. cyanea conforms to many cephalopod life history generalisations having rapid, non-asymptotic growth, a short life-span and high levels of mortality. Males were found to mature at much younger ages and sizes than females with reproductive activity concentrated in the spring and summer months. The female dominated sex-ratios in association with female brooding behaviours also suggest that larger conspicuous females may be more prone to capture and suggests that this intertidal octopus population has the potential to be negatively impacted in an unregulated fishery. Size at age and maturity comparisons between our temperate bordering population and lower latitude Tanzanian and Hawaiian populations indicated stark differences in growth rates that correlate with water temperatures. The variability in life history traits between global populations suggests that management of O. cyanea populations should be tailored to each unique set of life history characteristics and that stylet increment analysis may provide the integrity needed to accurately assess this.

Spatio-temporal distribution and seasonal population dynamics of the jellyfish Aurelia aurita s.l. studied with Dual-frequency IDentification SONar (DIDSON)

Citation Information: J. Plankton Res. (2012) doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbs057 First published online: August 27, 2012

Authors: Ryosuke Makabe, Takuya Kurihara and Shin-Ichi Uye

Abstract: Deployment of a Dual-frequency IDentification SONar (DIDSON) revealed the seasonal variations in spatial distribution and abundance of medusae of the common jellyfish, Aurelia aurita s.l. (detectable bell diameters: ca. ≥5 cm) in a shallow (max. depth: ∼6 m) Japanese brackish-water lake in between October 2008 and October 2009. The medusae were usually in patchy aggregations, more prominently so during warm seasons. Integration of the DIDSON-detected medusae with smaller ones estimated from the bell diameter composition in net hauls enabled us to study their seasonal population dynamics. Abundance was highest in June, due to recruitment, and declined to a relatively stable level in August and thereafter. The population carbon biomass was highest in October due to somatic growth of individual medusae. The annual mean biomass (63.8 mg C m−3) was much higher than that of mesozooplankton (26.0 mg C m−3), suggesting a substantial top-down impact. The DIDSON is an effective tool for studies of the spatial distribution and population dynamics of large jellyfish species like A. aurita. Concomitant net sampling to determine the bell diameter composition is required to offset the geometric limitations of this instrument.

Potential trophodynamic and environmental drivers of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) productivity in the North Pacific Ocean

Citation Information: ATCHESON, M. E., MYERS, K. W., DAVIS, N. D. and MANTUA, N. J. (2012), Potential trophodynamic and environmental drivers of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) productivity in the North Pacific Ocean. Fisheries Oceanography, 21: 321–335. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2012.00627.x

Abstract: Information on prey availability, diets, and trophic levels of fish predators and their prey provides a link between physical and biological changes in the ecosystem and subsequent productivity (growth and survival) of fish populations. In this study two long-term data sets on summer diets of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in international waters of the central North Pacific Ocean (CNP; 1991–2009) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA; 1993–2002) were evaluated to identify potential drivers of steelhead productivity in the North Pacific. Stable isotopes of steelhead muscle tissue were assessed to corroborate the results of stomach content analysis. We found the composition of steelhead diets varied by ocean age group, region, and year. In both the GOA and CNP, gonatid squid (Berryteuthis anonychus) were the most influential component of steelhead diets, leading to higher prey energy densities and stomach fullness. Stomach contents during an exceptionally warm year in the GOA and CNP (1997) were characterized by high diversity of prey with low energy density, few squid, and a large amount of potentially toxic debris (e.g., plastic). Indicators of good diets (high proportions of squid and high prey energy density) were negatively correlated with abundance of wild populations of eastern Kamchatka pink salmon (O. gorbuscha) in the CNP. In conclusion, interannual variations in climate, abundance of squid, and density-dependent interactions with highly-abundant stocks of pink salmon were identified as potential key drivers of steelhead productivity in these ecosystems. Additional research in genetic stock identification is needed to link these potential drivers of productivity to individual populations.

Hybrid morphological modelling of shoreline response to a detached breakwater

Citation Information: Coastal Engineering; Volume 71, January 2013, Pages 13–27

Authors: Sten Esbjørn Kristensen, Nils Drønen, Rolf Deigaard, Jørgen Fredsoe

Abstract: We present a new type of model for calculating morphological changes induced by the presence of breakwaters. The model combines a process based area model, used to calculate the sediment transport field in the two horizontal dimensions, with a simplified morphological updating scheme where the evolving cross-shore profile is described by a limited number of parameters. The hybrid morphological model is a strong tool for medium and long term modelling because it is cost effective while containing important features of the sediment transport description.

Two versions of the model are developed in order to study the evolution of beach morphology: one suited for offshore breakwaters (1D model) and one mainly dedicated to coastal breakwaters (“1.5D” model).

The version for offshore breakwaters is first presented and tested against field observations of salient evolution. The model is then applied to a model study of the principle correlations between evolving salients (spatial and temporal scales), the characteristic dimensions of the breakwater (distance to shore and alongshore length) and wave climate (wave height, normal and oblique wave incidence).

The second version is applied to investigate in more detail the evolving morphology behind coastal breakwaters. It is demonstrated how the model is able to calculate the evolution of either salient or tombolo planforms, and furthermore it is shown that the results are in reasonable agreement with existing rules.

Spawning location of Norway pout (Trisopterus esmarkii Nilsson) in the North Sea

Citation Information: Nash, R. D. M., Wright, P. J., Matejusova, I., Dimitrov, S. P., O'Sullivan, M., Augley, J., and Höffle, H. 2012. Spawning location of Norway pout (Trisopterus esmarkii Nilsson) in the North Sea. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69:8.

Abstract: The northern region of the North Sea (56–62°N) was sampled in February/March 2009 for eggs and in May 2010 for larvae. To aid in the identification of Norway pout stage I eggs and distinguish them from other ‘cod-like’ eggs, a Taq-Man probe was designed for this species and used here. Stage I Norway pout egg diameters collected from the field were in the range 1.03–1.28 mm and largely overlapped with the size range determined for whiting (Merlangius merlangus). The distribution of Norway pout stage I eggs in 2009 revealed the distribution of spawning in the North Sea and showed that it was similar to the distribution of 2 + Norway pout taken during the International Bottom Trawl Surveys (IBTS) over the same period covering the whole North Sea. The larvae sampled in 2010 were largely in the same area; however, larger larvae occurred to the south-east of the survey area, suggesting advection of young stages from the principal spawning areas in the north-western North Sea to the south-east and toward the Skagerrak.

Otolith microstructure analysis to resolve seasonal patterns of hatching and settlement in western Baltic cod

Citation Information: Rehberg-Haas, S., Hammer, C., Hillgruber, N., Hüssy, K., and Temming, A. 2012. Otolith microstructure analysis to resolve seasonal patterns of hatching and settlement in western Baltic cod. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69:8.

Abstract: Previous studies showed that Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) settle to demersal life at a given size, while the annulus is formed seasonally, irrespective of size. The goal of this study was to examine the timing of check formation in juvenile Baltic cod otoliths to validate macrostructural ageing and to differentiate between true annuli and secondary structures such as settlement checks. Otoliths were collected from fish off Fehmarn Island in 2008 and 2009, and were examined for macrostructural and microstructural patterns using light and scanning electron microscopy. All fish examined were age-0. Back-calculation of hatch dates indicated hatching from April to June and from February to August in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Juveniles formed either one or two translucent rings. The first translucent ring started to form ∼3 months post-hatch and was interpreted as a settlement check, since it appeared to be a function of age and/or size and not season. Deposition of the second ring began in mid October to early November irrespective of fish size and/or age, thus indicating that this ring may represent the first annulus of Baltic cod. Both rings were clearly distinguishable in individuals hatched between February and May, but were merged in those fish where settlement coincided with the seasonally formed second ring.

Efficacy of conservation measures for the American lobster: reproductive value as a criterion

Citation Information: Xu, C., and Schneider, D. C. 2012. Efficacy of conservation measures for the American lobster: reproductive value as a criterion – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 1831–1839.

Abstract: Reproductive value takes into account both current and future value, effectively characterizing the value of an individual to the population. In this study, we use reproductive value as a criterion to evaluate the effectiveness of several conservation measures that have been undertaken or proposed for the American lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery in Newfoundland. These measures are slot fishing (i.e. no fishing below or above certain sizes), marine protected areas (MPAs), V-notching, and window fishing (i.e. no fishing within a size window). Reproductive value was estimated by using catch length data available from commercial fisheries and research surveys. We found that MPAs had the greatest effect, followed by V-notching and slot-fishing. MPAs resulted in an average increase of 64.9% in total reproductive value, V-notching an average increase of 18.3%, and slot fishing an average increase of 16.8%. In general, window fishing was not effective unless the size of the window was large. For instance, an average increase of 8.7% in total reproductive value would require a wide window (100–129 mm). Our results provide a scientific basis for evaluating conservation measures in a way that integrates population demographical information with information from commercial fisheries and research surveys.

The response of herring to high crowding densities in purse-seines: survival and stress reaction

Citation Information: Tenningen, M., Vold, A., and Olsen, R. E. 2012. The response of herring to high crowding densities in purse-seines: survival and stress reaction. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69:8.

Abstract: To study the effects of crowding in purse-seines on the survival and stress response of herring (Clupea harengus), large-scale field experiments were conducted in the North Sea during 2008 and 2009. The mortality was 28% at a crowding density of 221 kg m−3 and increased further with increasing density. Crowding densities <150 kg m−3 did not result in any additional mortality compared with the control group (0.9–2.0%). Smaller herring and herring with a lower condition factor were more vulnerable to the effects of crowding. Blood analyses showed a significant increase in cortisol, lactate, and blood ions in the crowded fish. Lactate returned to control levels 2 d post-stress, whereas cortisol and blood ion levels continued to increase during the 4- to 5-d monitoring period. Furthermore, plasma glucose appeared to be substantially reduced at the end of the trial, indicating that the herring were incapable of restoring homeostasis and were approaching energy exhaustion. These results provide important information about the crowding densities that can be tolerated in the purse-seine fisheries for herring and will benefit future development of guidelines for purse-seine slipping operations.

Contrasting trends in sea ice and primary production in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean

Citation Information: Brown, Z. W., and Arrigo, K. R. 2012. Contrasting trends in sea ice and primary production in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69:7.

Abstract: Satellite remote sensing data were used to examine recent trends in sea-ice cover and net primary productivity (NPP) in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. In nearly all regions, diminished sea-ice cover significantly enhanced annual NPP, indicating that light-limitation predominates across the seasonally ice-covered waters of the northern hemisphere. However, long-term trends have not been uniform spatially. The seasonal ice pack of the Bering Sea has remained consistent over time, partially because of winter winds that have continued to carry frigid Arctic air southwards over the past six decades. Hence, apart from the “Arctic-like” Chirikov Basin (where sea-ice loss has driven a 30% increase in NPP), no secular trends are evident in Bering Sea NPP, which averaged 288 ± 26 Tg C year−1 over the satellite ocean colour record (1998–2009). Conversely, sea-ice cover in the Arctic Ocean has plummeted, extending the open-water growing season by 45 d in just 12 years, and promoting a 20% increase in NPP (range 441–585 Tg C year−1). Future sea-ice loss will likely stimulate additional NPP over the productive Bering Sea shelves, potentially reducing nutrient flux to the downstream western Arctic Ocean.

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